The Lives of the Cowboys, January 21, 2012

The Fitzgerald Theater

Saint Paul, MN


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The Lives of the Cowboys

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(COWBOY THEME)

SS: The Lives of the Cowboys. Brought to you by Morning Star aloe cream for your saddle. It's natural. And now we join Dusty and Lefty for another exciting western adventure. (MUSIC FADE, NIGHT AMBIENCE)

GK: Kind of quiet out there, Dusty.

TR: Well, it gets quiet in Minnesota in January. People get thoughtful.

GK: Nobody moving out there. Makes me nervous something bad is just about to happen.

TR: That's why you didn't want to camp under a tree?

GK: That's right. Cougars jump out of trees. Anvils fall out of trees.

TR: What anvils?

GK: That's the problem. You don't know until it's too late.

TR: Never heard of an anvil falling out of a tree.

GK: You never heard of it because the people they fell on couldn't pass on the word.

TR: What's the anvil doing up in the tree?

GK: Somebody put it there because that's the last place you'd look.

TR: You are crazy. You know that?

GK: Just telling you what I think.

TR: Loneliness has driven you over the brink into paranoia and insanity, pardner.

GK: Ha! I'm a cowboy. Loneliness is what I crave. Insanity is what we eat for breakfast. No, sir, solitude is a gift, Dusty. We are cowboys. Lonesome is part of the iconic nature of the calling.

TR: Iconic?

GK: That's what I said.

TR: Is that like the Yukon?

GK: Nope. (GUITAR STRUM)
(HE SINGS, TO "HOME ON THE RANGE")

O give me a home where I am alone
And no one is there except me.
No one who's fussed and full of disgust
And rolls her eyes caustically.

O so I am strange
And that's why I live on the range
Where a man can chew and spit ptoooo
With no one to force him to change.

I love loneliness and sadness, I guess,
An icon should not have a wife
To criticize and roll her blue eyes
When he eats his peas with a knife.

TR: I thought you were thinking about marrying that Evelyn Beebalo. I know she's sweet on you. Still writes you those flowery letters.

GK: Romance is beautiful in theory, Dusty, long as you don't try to make a habit of it.

TR: What do you know about marriage? You've never been there.

GK: Visited my brother Larry in St. Louie. Two days was enough to get the whole picture. The man lives with a woman who follows him around pointing out each mistake he makes and explaining to him what he actually thinks rather than what he just said.

TR: So? You can't draw big conclusions from one little example, pardner-----

SS: Excuse me-----

GK: Whoa!!!!!

TR: Where'd you come from?

GK: Who are you???

SS: Scare you?

GK: Well, you just suddenly loom up from behind that tree there-----

TR: What's your name?

SS: Never you mind. Just clean up this campsite. Look at that. Dishes on the ground. Garbage ----- you just threw that garbage out there in the bushes? Is that yours? Is it?

GK: It's just potato peels and apple cores. Organic.

SS: I don't care. Clean it up. Bury it. It doesn't belong there.

TR: Who made you the boss of this trail?

SS: Don't you get smart with me or there's going to be an ass-whuppin take place here and you're going to be sorry.

TR: There's gonna be a what?

SS: There's gonna be a truckload of ass-whuppin if you want some of it, I got it. What's this? You been dumping coffee on the ground?

GK: Yes. Why?

SS: Why??? Listen to you. "Why?" Coffee is toxic. Coffee kills insect life. It's hard on plants.

GK: Winter is hard on plants, too. Look around.

SS: You didn't see the sign at the head of the trail?

GK: What sign?

SS: Dispose carefully of coffee and other beverages. Bury organic wastes.

GK: When did this start?

SS: Long time ago. Wake up.

GK: Listen, ma'am. I am a cowboy. I am a fundamental synergistic and iconic element of the American milieu.

SS: Iconic.

GK: That's what I said. Iconic.

SS: A real cowboy wouldn't use the word "iconic."

GK: A cowboy can talk any way a cowboy wants to talk.

SS: Not words like "iconic".

GK: That's what I call a shibboleth.

SS: Ha! Cowboys don't use words like that.

GK: Whatever words express the unbidden vicissitudes of our soul.

TR: Sissy who?

GK: Vicissitude.

SS: You don't even know what it means.

GK: If a man only used words he knew the meaning of, he'd never learn anything-----

TR: That's a vicissitude if I ever heard one.

GK: What do you mean?

TR: Got no idea. But it felt good saying it. (BRIDGE)

(FOOTSTEPS)

GK: Glad we got rid of her. Had to use a lot of big words to do it though.

TR: Yeah. That last one really threw her.

GK: Antinomianism. That and syllogistic.

TR: What do they mean?

GK: No idea. No idea. Hey. Here's a saloon. Speaking of iconic. Let's go in and be antinomian.

TR: You're the boss.

(CREAK OF DOOR OPENING) (CAMPTOWN RACES) (COARSE LAUGHTER) (FOOTSTEPS OF DUSTY AND LEFTY TO THE BAR)

AS: Howdy. What can I get you two gentlemen?

TR: What you got for whiskey, ma'am?

AS: You care for beginner's whiskey, intermediate, or advanced?

TR: Advanced.

AS: We got Blank Label Bourbon----

TR: Never heard of it.

AS: That's cause they only make a few bottles of it a year.

TR: Why so few?

AS: The demand is low. Taste some and you'll understand.

GK: Why's it called Blank Label?

AS: Cause that's what it does to you.

TR: Gimme a glass of that.

AS: Ice with that?

TR: Nope.

AS: How about you, mister?

GK: You got any white wine?

AS: White what?

GK: Wine. White wine. Like a Chardonnay.

AS: A Chardonnay????? (PIANO STOPS, SILENCE, SOME WHISPERING. THEN SLOW FOOTSTEPS ACROSS THE ROOM AND STOP)

LK: Did I hear somebody mention ----- Chardonnay?

GK: Why I know you. Big John. You're the famous author of western adventure novels.

LK: You got it, pardner. Wrote 300 best-selling western novels that sold approximately 35 million copies and never yet in any novel of mine did a cowboy walk into a bar and ask for a Chardonnay because if he had, we'd have known him for a fake and a phoney and he would've been run out of town on a rail. Same as in my novels, cowboys who play guitar only play in the key of D. Sometimes G but mostly D. A man who needs more than 6 or 7 chords to say what he needs to say is just showing off for the womenfolk.

GK: Well, Big John, Chardonnay is just one of my vicissitudes, I reckon.

LK: Who you calling a vicissitude? That's a fightin word, mister.

GK: You're thinking of synergistic.

LK: That, too. You want to duke it out with me, here I am, so bring it on and I'll pound the cookies out of you.

GK: Before you do, Big John, tell me this. How come a best-selling author like yourself looks all ratty and disheveled like a homeless person?

AS: Cause he's a great novellist but he's a lousy poker player.

GK: Bring me that Chardonnay, girl, so I can have me a drink before Big John here settles my hash.

LK: You want to do this outside, stranger?

GK: Sure. Why not. (TWO FOOTSTEPS, ACROSS FLOOR, OUT DOOR. ACROSS GRAVEL)

LK: It's cold out here. Lemme have a swig of that Chardonnay, now that I'm out here where nobody can see me. (HE DRINKS, SIGHS)

GK: So you appreciate a good Chardonnay----

LK: Between you and me, I do.

GK: Between you and me, Big John, I got to say that your best novel was your first novel, Wagons Westward Hi-yaaaaaaaa, and your writing has more or less steadily gone downhill and your most recent book, Ck-ck Giddup Beauty, Awaaaaaaaaaaaaay! was just plain embarrassing, I didn't get past page 11, and I used the book to shim up a cabinet and never cared to see it again.

LK: Now wait a minute. You're saying that Wagons Westward Hi-yaaaaaaaa!! was my best work and Ck-ck Giddup Beauty, Awaaaaaaaaaaaaay! was bad??? I'll have you know that Ck-ck Giddup Beauty, Awaaaaaaaaaaaaay! was named Book of the Year by the Cowboy Novellists of America.

GK: Ck-ck Giddup Beauty, Awaaaaaaaaaaaaay! ???

LK: Ck-ck Giddup Beauty, Awaaaaaaaaaaaaay!

GK: Well, someone was on the take then. Because Ck-ck Giddup Beauty, Awaaaaaaaaaaaaay! was nothing. The one before it, Look Out, Pa----- In the Tree----- Aieeeeeeeeee was pretty good but Ck-ck Giddup Beauty, Awaaaaaaaaaaaaay! was a piece of unmitigated trash.

LK: Unmitigated trash.....

GK: That's what I said.

LK: Unmitigated.

GK: Unmitigated.

LK: Well, here is what I think of you and your critical acumen. (HE HAWKS AND SPITS)

GK: You are mispronouncing acumen, sir.

LK: Did not.

GK: Did so.

LK: That just goes to show your lack of acumen.

GK: Well, here's what I think of you and your writing. (HE HAWKS AND SPITS)

LK: I'm going for my gun, stranger, and when I get back here, I expect to find you armed and loaded.

GK: I'll be here.

LK: Better use your acumen too. (FOOTSTEPS AWAY)

SS: Hi there. Remember me? From the trail? How's it going?

GK: You going to write me a ticket for spitting on the ground?-----

SS: Nope. I'm off-duty. I came over just cause I'm curious about your -----vicissitudes. If maybe they're similar to my vicissitudes.

GK: You don't look like a vicissitude sort of a woman.

SS: You'd be surprised. Come on over here, you icon you, and I'll show you some vicissitudes that'll knock your shibboleth off. That's what I call synergy.

GK: Be my pleasure, ma'am. (FOOTSTEPS FADE.(THEME)

TR: The Lives of the Cowboys brought to you by El Paso Brand Purses for Men ---- the purse that looks just like a saddle bag. No one will ever know. (MUSIC UP AND OUT)

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Old Sweet Songs

Lovingly selected from the earliest archives of A Prairie Home Companion, this heirloom collection represents the music from earliest years of the now legendary show: 1974–1976. With songs and tunes from jazz pianist Butch Thompson, mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull and the first house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band (Adam Granger, Bob Douglas and Mary DuShane).

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